How To Become A Confident Leader

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Leadership is one of the major bedrocks of organizational transformation alongside the economy, infrastructure, strategic planning, and others. However, it is not enough just to be a leader. There are leadership skills that must be possessed to be an exceptional and influential leader. Developing leadership skills takes time. It requires deliberate effort, charisma, enthusiasm and self-assurance, all of which demand time and practice.

Confidence is a very important skillset that any leader should possess. It is so critical that without it, successful leadership cannot exist. With the various challenges that come with leadership, confidence is what makes the competence, civility, accountability, emotional intelligence, integrity, moral courage, and all other leadership skills of a leader further developed, enhanced and appreciated.

What is leadership?

Words such as influence, wisdom, passion, drive, charisma, inspiration, foresight, sensitivity and perseverance define leadership. Leadership is the ability of an individual to influence and guide followers or members of an organization. It extends beyond titles and positions as it stems from social influence, not authority or power. True leaders get things done not by coercion, but by living a life of steady inspiration.

There is no leader without a follower. Great leadership platforms value the ideas, roles, time, skills and humanity of the followers by building bridges to find a common ground for joint growth and development. Leadership therefore maximizes the efforts of others towards the achievement of a goal. Leaders mobilize people towards a vision by creating emotional bonds and harmony with the followers.

Leadership extends far beyond an itemized list of definitions as they are inexhaustible. It is a powerful skill that can be developed over time, as great leaders don’t follow a single personality type. Everyone and anyone can become a successful leader. It only requires sharpening the skills that have been knowingly and unknowingly developed in us and going the extra mile to develop other skills that are also crucial to successful leadership. Confidence is one of those skills, and we encourage every leader or aspiring leader to embrace it.

Self-confidence in leadership

Confidence is feeling sure in oneself, and one’s abilities, not in an arrogant way but realistically and securely; and having trust in oneself, yet not feeling superior to others. Confidence is the fundamental basis from which leadership grows. Confidence attracts in such a way that people tend to naturally trust anyone who appears confident. A confident leader is a visionary, a motivator and an encourager. A leader’s confidence in their own capacities and abilities to solve problems has a huge impact on how the team functions and how results are produced.

Confident leaders do not avoid chaos, thereby limiting growth – rather, they plan for unforeseen challenges and create margin for unexpected opportunities.Confidence enables a leader to step out of their comfort zone into tension and conflict, with humility, empathy, and a spirit of collaboration with the followers for the betterment of the group. Leadership is therefore obsolete without confidence. In John Maxwell’s words: “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.”

Attributes of a confident leader

A confident leader is typically a happy leader. From the leader’s assurance in their own competence to the natural trust that followers tend to have in them, confidence boosts the happiness levels of a leader. A confident leader is delighted leading other people and attending to risks. They therefore feel positive and are eager to attend to tasks coming their way. This proves inspiring to followers, who also feel pleased and place value on the buoyant leader.

Below are 10 attributes that confident leaders have in common:

1. They have better relationships: Confident leaders understand that it is not always feasible to convince everybody and that they only need to convince enough of the right people to make the right decisions. This understanding helps them build long and lasting relationships with the team members and associates. They also surround themselves with people who lift their perspective and encourage them to do better. This makes them feel good about themselves. Treat others well and, in turn, they are treated well by others.

2. They handle conflicts appropriately: Stemming closely from the effect of being able to build better relationships is what makes confident leaders able to handle conflicts appropriately. They tackle the hard conversations and solve team issues quickly to reduce disruption and the potential to damage motivation within the team. Confident leaders seek a better understanding of what caused the conflict. They identify the problems and do not harbor hurt or withhold forgiveness. They understand that team members are bound together by a relationship to achieve a common goal, so conflicts are sometimes necessary to solve problems and get results. Confident leaders therefore seek resolution to conflicts and restoration of relationships by resolving areas of disagreement satisfactorily.

3. They embrace risks and endure pain: If you are not hurting, then you are probably not leading. The capacity of confident leaders to lead toward the future is their ability to endure pain, accept chaos and embrace uncertainty. Confident leaders do not achieve greatness by always wanting to ‘play it safe’ – they confidently step into the unknown and learn from their mistakes. They know that no matter what the outcome is, there is always something to be gained because the most important thing becomes clear when things are uncertain. They believe that they can successfully achieve their goals and pursue them regardless of uncertainties.

4. They are motivated and ambitious: Confident leaders regularly set goals and are motivated to achieve them. They believe in hard work and place value on each task. This inspires team members to devote the same motivation to tasks at hand. Confident leaders lead from within, such that when they stand up for their team members in the face of an unreasonable stakeholder, they affect the team’s motivation and commitment. They believe that the work they do is important, so they make a difference in their field of leadership by taking decisive actions and getting more things done instead of sitting around, second-guessing themselves. They have a ‘can-do’ attitude, which allows them to make progress consistently. Confidence helps in influencing others for greater productivity and keeps the company’s work flowing.

5. They eliminate triggers and employ change: Confident leaders know the power of controlling their emotions to be able to channel their energy into productive tasks. They avoid negative thinking, activities and people that can make them feel bad about themselves. They eliminate anything that leaves them thinking that they are not good enough. In the course of their leadership, they learn what to continue and know what to change. This not only consists of decision-making, but also includes the application of the decisions to put them into operation. Instigating change helps leaders improve their self-confidence. They don’t let one wrong turn make them think that they do not have what it takes to achieve their goals and be successful. They are quick to bounce back from their mistakes and live above their insecurities.

6. They recognize talents and increase inclusiveness: Confident leaders draw on the talents of others without feeling threatened! They do not always feel that they have the right answers. They do not feel sufficient in themselves because they know that it is not realistic. They are keen on observation based on less talking and more listening. They make an effort to include team members in decision-making and brainstorming. They give members the chance to improve their skills and take on different opportunities they might not usually have by following up with answers that encourage more elaboration, rather than jumping to conclusions. This makes the team members feel significant, responsible and credible. Confident leaders do not feel insecure to delegate, thinking that bad things are going to happen. They are not ruled by fear and do not try to control everything. They resolve to let go and delegate and watch good things happen. They also submit to mentors and ask vital questions that will help them to grow as a leader.

7. They celebrate success, show gratitude, and accept compliments: Beyond genuinely looking for opportunities to recognize the success of others, confident leaders are cheerful enough to receive compliments with humble gestures. The confident leader is also able to identify opportunities where they can establish good outcomes with their team. They also equally recognize the success of their associates and are good at picking the best opportunities. Confident leadership helps the team to develop and outclass other groups in excellence. Also, a show of gratitude helps the team members to acknowledge accomplishments. This in turn encourages others to focus on success and build self-esteem.

8. They maintain a free flow of communication: Confident leaders do not find it hard to communicate with their team members. Whether the leader needs to motivate team members or give an evaluative statement, they always have the right words to communicate the situation. This strong communication skill also helps confident leaders to engage with different kinds of people, irrespective of age, ability, experience or background. As their level of communication directly affects their influence on people, they are logical, emotional and cooperative in their conversations. This is an effective hack that helps them see through the thoughts, feelings and thinking patterns of the workforce. They choose words carefully. Even in times of emergency, a confident leader does not show panic but efficiently communicates it using the right gestures. Their transparency further brings about authentic trust. They gain more confidence in people by declaring a free flow of communication. This creates an environment where people can make suggestions and give constructive criticism without hesitation. The leader is looked upon as someone with listening ears and a welcoming attitude to innovation. Confident leaders, however, know that it is best not to entertain any form of defiant comments.

9. They accept feedback: Confident leaders welcome feedback from others to increase the diversity of opinions and create better outcomes. Confident leaders will always express their willingness to accept feedback. This encourages people to turn in their feedbacks because they know that they can often suggest ideas and try new things without fear of repercussions. When confident leaders take input and feedback from their own team, they build trust in the team members. Team members as well develop a sense of responsibility for the leader and generate ideas for improvements. They appreciate the leader’s confidence by actively developing the ideas generated for the sole purpose of prospering the team. As much as he is open to feedbacks, a confident leader however learns to carefully draw conclusions after a proper examination and assesement of received feedbacks. From here, they choose the appropriate mode of operation to attend to the concerns raised by the public and workforce.

10. They develop a sense of humor: Confident leaders know how to find humor in every circumstance, while still maintaining the right perspective towards such situations. No matter how challenging the task is, a confident leader laughs sooner than others and often cracks jokes in order to ease the tension and get team members to participate.

Effects of self-confidence in leadership

Practicing the above-mentioned skills during real-life experiences can make anyone become a more confident leader. If you are open to growth and are willing to put in the time and effort to improve, then confidence will further build in you the following traits:

1. Self-awareness and learning agility: Strong leaders are strong learners. Being confident boosts your self-awareness and you are able to learn through practice, effort and experience. As you repeat this, you can understand yourself and your feelings, strong points and weak points. You are also able to create a deeper sense of the core values you have built.

2. Integrity: Confidence helps a leader build strong ethical principles that are followed at all times. Even when others are not looking, a confident leader has the ability to build trust and establish consistency. When a leader is confident, they are able to practice integrity and transparency effectively.

3. Courage: Needless to say, being confident builds courage. You are never afraid to voice your hard, unpopular opinion or new idea that seems ridiculous. You are not afraid to engage in difficult conversions, and you are willing to take up challenges. You recognize opportunities for transformation quickly, and you never allow fear to deter you.

4. Calmness: Confidence has built in you the ability to merge your talent of keen observation with an optimistic vision to enact a plan and thrive even in stressful and chaotic situations. Therefore, you remain calm and keep your cool even in the midst of inevitable crises. A confident leader understands the importance of calmness, as being frustrated or troubled will not bear fruit.

Confidence is the bedrock of leadership. You can be trained as a leader to become an effective problem solver with apt decision-making, mentorship, accountability and communication skills. Yet without first believing in yourself, your identity as a leader will only exist in the title. In other words, if you do not believe in yourself, gaining the trust of your followers will be an almost impossible task.

While many believe that leadership is an innate attribute, much of it can be learned. The master’s in leadership degree from St. Bonaventure University provides you the opportunity to sharpen your leadership skills and build healthy levels of confidence. The online program presents you with lots of benefits, including comfortable learning schedules and an affordable tuition fee. Enroll today and distinguish yourself as a true leader with a leadership degree.

Conclusion

Never forget that confidence is the distinguishing factor between average leaders and exceptional leaders. Self-confidence is not just a complementary asset, but is a standalone skillset that every aspiring leader must hone. However, confidence is not a function of temperament or natural energy levels – it is a product of self-awareness and the ability to realize the values you have and to channel those values into getting work done.

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